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India today set the tune for US President Barack Obamaâs visit later this week, with National Security Advisor Shivshankar Menon playing down on the US role on sharing intelligence about Pakistani-American terrorist David Headley and highlighting how Indo-US relations has improved in recent years.
Menon praised the US for allowing Indian security agencies interrogate Headley post 26/11 â something he thought was "unprecedented and not possible five years ago". While emphasing the need for both countries to be pragmatic, the NSA said he was very optimistic about the future of Indo-US ties.
"The kind of access we got on Headley was unprecedented. It would not have been possible five years back. There is a debate in India on how much did the US know about Headley and when and how much did they tell us. But giving access, is not something many states do very easily," said Menon at a function – Dialogue on US-India Strategic Partnership – organised by FICCI.
The remarks came a few days after Home Secretary GK Pillai expressed his disappointment with US authorities for not sharing complete information on Headley even after the Mumbai terror attack.
"In India people expect much more out of this relationship. So, a lot of dissatisfaction we hear, whether it is outsourcing or counter-terrorism, it is because we expect this relationship to do much more," said Menon. He hoped Obamaâs scheduled visit from November 6th would help further strengthening the long-term relationship with the US.
"The level of engagement between our two countries is unprecedented. We never had this kind of engagement with each other in our history. There is no sphere of human endeavour in which we do not actually cooperate. The range of our engagement is quite unprecedented," the NSA signed off.